A report in the December 10, 1844 issue of the Royal Gazette reminds us that the pieces of stone used to make Bermuda’s roads were locally known as “gaol nuts”. It says sanctimoniously: “The hard labour of punishment now in force in the Gaol in Hamilton will most assuredly have a salutary effect on the prevention of crime. The process of breaking stone with a hammer, though simple, is exceedingly irksome and we feel convinced that those who have born the punishment once will be exceedingly cautious in their future conduct.”
The Introduction of Black Birds
According to the Royal Gazette of December 1, 1846, “A gentleman received on Friday week, a few blackbirds and thrushes, with the view to turn them loose on these islands, where should they thrive, the day may not be far distant when the groves of Bermuda may be enlivened by the sweet songs of these birds.”
Bermuda Yacht Club
In December 1845, Prince Albert gave permission for the Bermuda Yacht Club “to style themselves the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.” The Club’s first elected Commodore, Lord Mark Kerr, who had been instrumental in securing the royal charter, said, “We feel assured that the elevation of the Club, placing it on a footing with the highest in England, will be a double incentive to Gentlemen coming forward and joining it.”
Crafted Cedar Fit for Royalty
According to the Christmas Eve Royal Gazette of 1850, two Bermudians crafted items intended for display in the 1851 London Great Exhibition. Mr. Henry Jackson of Pembroke created “a very beautiful specimen of the cedar root made into a Box” while Mr Basden, a ship cabinet maker, built a “fiddle out of solid cedar.”
The Invention of the Dishwasher
The dishwasher was invented by American socialite Josephine Garis Cochran who entertained so frequently, she wanted a speedier dishwashing service than her staff could provide. She duly invented the device and had it patented December 28, 1886. In 1893, she demonstrated her invention at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.
The Big Three Conference
Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States and M. Joseph Laniel, Prime Minister of France, met in Bermuda for “The Big Three Summit” held at the Mid-Ocean Club for four days during December 1953. The conference focused on reviewing the world situation and changes in Russian policies since Stalin’s death March 5, 1953.
Bermuda Hosts US and Great Britain Discussions
From December 21 -23 1961, President John F. Kennedy of the United States and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of Great Britain met at Government House Bermuda to review the world situation. Discussion topics included the Congo and New Guinea. Their main focus, however, was on how to meet the Russian threat against Berlin and on nuclear threats. It was during this occasion President Kennedy apparently said to Mr. Macmillan, “I wonder how it is with you, Harold? If I don’t have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches.”
December 2, 1977, convicted murderers Buck Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were hanged in Bermuda. Their executions, leading to three days of island rioting and social unrest, were the last to be carried out in Bermuda. In December 1999, capital punishment was officially abolished by the Bermuda Parliament.